In the Loop (2009) – Brits and Americans take turns saying “fuck.” Despite that simple description, it’s a script you have to pay attention to or you can easily get lost in a sea of “fuck.”
Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire (2009) – Okay, not as bad as I expected. Still, it’s an exercise in pissing on a single, piss-covered character. That plus shaky camera work (whatever happened to tripods and steadicam?), throw in natural lighting, and you’ve got a Lars Von Trier picture right there.
Up in the Air (2009) – Also better than Avatar, but hardly a best picture of the year. Man, Clooney’s movies are getting harder and harder to comment on as the years go on.
The Hurt Locker (2008) – Whenever I think how bad things are for me right now, I can at least reassure myself that I’m not exploded.
The Egg and I (1947) – When an oblivious buffoon and a doormat meet, marry and buy a chicken farm, some infuriating tomfoolery is bound to happen. I kept waiting for Betty to grow a spine and murder her husband. Spoiler: she never does.
Oscar-Nominated Short Films – Live-Action (2009)
- Kavi – Go see this. You can feel better about yourself because you’re aware that bad things happen to people out there. That’s all you need to do: everything you did for poor people after you saw Slumdog Millionaire.
- The New Tenants – The quintessential short film/one-act play: an observer or observers look on as a story is told to them or acted out in front of their bewildered eyes. There is some death, heroin, ballroom dance, and the audience is given a recipe for cinnamon buns.
- Miracle Fish – Bleh. I hate short films about children having a hard time.
- The Door – Holocaust Film will not be appearing tonight. Tonight, the role of Depressed Historical Drama will be played by Chernobyl Memoir.
- Instead of Abracadabra (Istället för abrakadabra) – Scandinavians With Daddy Issues will be making its usual appearance, however. And as always, it will be pretty damn funny.
Oscar-Nominated Short Films – Animated (2009)
- French Roast – Hey, be nice to poor people, y’all, ’cause they might be secretly rich or something.
- The Lady and the Reaper (La dama y la muerte) – Sad old ladies who want to die are so hilarious.
- Wallace and Gromit in ‘A Matter of Loaf and Death’ – It’s always good to see Wallace and Gromit. This may be their best yet.
- Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty – This is my pick to win, though I’m sad and afraid that it might not win. Is there some way I could just hug all of Ireland? Someone set that up for me, please.
- Partly Cloudy* – Another perfectly charming Pixar contribution. This isn’t nominated, but it’s okay, since Pixar is going to win Best Animated Feature.
- Runaway* – Canadians are second only to Russians when it comes to disorienting, vaguely sad animation.
- The Kinematograph* – Pretty, but insubstantial. I rather resent blatant manipulation like this, especially when it isn’t actually backed up with a story.
- Logorama – This is either a poignant critique of western culture, or a one-note joke. Either way, it made its point in the first couple of seconds and went on and on from there. 16 minutes, but it feels like a lifetime.
Barbarella (1968) – It is important to remember that Jane Fonda has an Oscar. It is also important to remember that this movie was released the same year as 2001: A Space Odyssey. Finally, you must remember than an angel is love and has no memory.
Whip It (2009) – You guys! You guys! Drew Barrymore is good at something now besides booze and drugs. This is exciting. Really.